Why I sing

I've gone over some of the reasons why I chose to join the Men's Chorus this year. First and foremost, I enjoy singing. Secondly, the prospect of performing on stage at both Benaroya and McCaw Halls was pretty enticing. The final aspect had to do with something more esoteric--I wanted to find out just how I would fit in with a large group of gay men. I thought I would have stories to relate on this blog, and that I would be able to chidingly point at the stereotypes that gay men so often fulfill.

On Sunday, I performed in front of 2500 people at Benaroya Hall and the experience was overall very good. I looked rather dapper in my tux, and I only screwed up a little in a couple of the songs. (Oh, and I still sound like shit in that damn Ave Maria.)

I did understand something that I didn't before--the sound of applause from all of those people, really does give a sense of belonging to the larger community. After the show, I walked out to the lobby, and talked to some of the patrons. One elderly woman told me that she had come every year for the past 11 years, and it didn't feel like Christmas to her until she saw our show. A lesbian and her partner both confided that they preferred the Men's Chorus to the Women's. I saw children running up to and hugging the guys that were dressed as reindeer. "Look, there's another one," one mom said, and her daughter went tearing through the crowd to hug the next reindeer.

I'm not trying to say that I had some big epiphany. It wasn't a life altering moment or anything. It was maybe a tiny epiphany--one that allowed me to put my chiding pointer finger firmly in my pocket. I was able to forgive this organization which, through its existence, perpetuates subset stereotypes, like circuit boys, bears, label whores, theater queens, and the like. For some members, the chorus provides their entire social structure. I used to think those people were sad--and I do believe that they should step outside of that particular structure on occasion--but, now I realize that these people would probably have no social interactions without the chorus. Perhaps more important than the functions the chorus provides for the members is the visibility it provides for the gay community.

My parents will be here on Sunday to see the show. I don't believe either know that it is a gay men's chorus, but really, doesn't that go without saying? I have been "out" for almost half of my life; yet, when it comes to my parents, I am still made to feel duplicitous and that I should carry more shame. I wouldn't be lying if I said that I hope they don't feel slightly ashamed of their prejudice and bigotry when surrounded by 2498 people who respect gays and lesbians and the vital part of the community we play (even if that part is a bit minstrel-y).

[I don't know if I just made any sense, but I'm too tired to go back and read the whole thing. I've been writing the post on and off throughout my shift down here in the vault.]


Anonymous said...

well put. brought a tear to my eye when you spoke of the children and the reindeer.

Jason said...

Great post Jeremy.
Happy that you are having fun in the chorus and have your families support. That rocks.

GayProf said...

Resistance and stereotypes can often be intertwined.

In the case of your parents, I assume they will be attending the all-nude show?

Keith said...

All nude show? We just got our tickets so we better see some ass.

jeremy said...

Anonymous - I'm getting a vibe from you . . . like your name starts with an L. Lynn or Loretta or Loretta Lynn, nope, I'm going with Lynnie.

Prof - You're like totally Yoda.

Jason - Well, they're supportive, but in a really oblique sort of way.

Keith - You know if you wanted to see my ass, all you had to do was ask . . .

Maggie said...

I'm checking for tickets right now. Hope to see you tonight; otherwise at another show this season.